MANILA – Australian telecommunications company Telstra has established Telstra Foundation Philippines, a corporate foundation that seeks to support non-profit and community organizations and activities targeted toward developing Filipino youth and promoting education.

It is the first Telstra Foundation established outside of Australia.

Telstra has been investing in contact center operations in the Philippines, particularly in Manila and Cebu, for the past six years.

Telstra chief sustainability officer Tim O’Leary explained why the company chose to bring its corporate foundation to the Philippines in particular.

“It’s a really important market,” he said. “I suspect it will not be the last Foundation that we look at.”

“The establishment of the foundation here is a signal both of the increasing maturity of our business operations here, the scale of those operations and the long-term ambitions that we would have,” O’Leary said.

“At Telstra, we understand that the well-being of our communities and the success of our business are closely interlinked, said Telstra Philippines country manager Tom Beach. “As a company with established operations in the Philippines, we have the opportunity to make a difference in the communities where we live and work, not just in providing jobs and boosting the economy, but also in helping shape the future.”

“For the Philippines to sustain its tremendous growth, we will need t but invest in the next generation. We hope to use our talent and resources to assist in areas that would have a long-term impact to Filipino children, from education, nutrition, to housing,” he added.

Telstra has appointed Rosanne Suarez, general manager for transformation, as the first president of Telstra Foundation Philippines. 

“We believe that in our own way, we can help the country fulfill the potential of its human capital. We hope that through the Foundation’s initiatives, we can help more Filipino children live happy, fulfilling, and productive lives,” Suarez said.

The Foundation will be organizing initiatives for its employees in Manila and Cebu. One of its first projects in Manila was a volunteer day at Rafael Palma Elementary School in Makati, where Telstra employees helped out in school makeover-related projects and a feeding program for the students.

The Foundation is also looking into home-building projects, rebuilding schools after calamities, and in matched payroll giving programs.

Telstra employees are also given opportunities to be involved in advocacies through paid volunteer leaves, which employees can use to connect with people who are passionate about similar causes, or interact with colleagues outside of the usual work environment. 

“Our employees’ passion for service has translated to volunteering initiatives to aid communities in their time of need. Last year, in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, Telstra operations globally gathered close to P1 million as assistance to their employees and their families,” Beach shared.

“Some of our employees in the Philippines also set up donation boxes for food, clothing, and other basic essentials, while others volunteered their time without pay to repack donations with a number of different not-for-profit organizations,” Beach said.

(in photo: Telstra employees at the volunteer day at Rafael Palma Elementary School)